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Old 01-09-2013
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Re: Paradigm changing boats

An editorial from 1876 on Amaryllis, for your reading pleasure:
Quote:
A REVOLUTIONARY YACHT.
The defeated yachtsmen in yesterday's race are entitled to sincere commiseration. It is a well-established fact among Americans of a yachting turn of mind, that the American yacht embodies in her model all the fairy tales of science and the long results of time. It is supposed to be almost the perfect model for speed under canvas, and it is supposed that any improvement on it will be merely an extension of it. Yet yesterday all the yachts of this approved model were beaten ridiculously by a vessel of outlandish model and rig. She is literally 'outlandish,' for according to the description of her the nearest approach to her afloat is the famous 'flying proa' of the Ladrone Islands, of the speed of which wonderful stories are told. Nobody protested against entering her for the race yesterday, for the reason probably that everybody expected to beat her, but everybody seems to have objected to being beaten by her. Next time we advise our yachtsmen to ponder the words of MILTON, And think twice ere they venture to "Sport with Amaryllis in the shade."

In form the entry seems to have been perfectly fair, since the yachts were taxed only according to length, and were permitted as much extension in all other directions as their owners chose. But in fact, it is clearly unfair to race boats of radically different models, and built for entirely different purposes, against each other. The model of the Amaryllis evidently would not do for a sea going vessel, and nothing in the way of the practical 'improvement of naval architecture ' which yachts and yacht clubs are supposed to promote, can come out of a flying proa. But on the other hand, none of the boats engaged in the race with her are supposed to be good for much except to engage in such races. The tendency of yacht-racing is everywhere to-produce 'racing machines;' in ENGLAND by narrowing, deepening and ballasting yachts out of all reason, and here by making broad and shallow 'skimming-dishes.' In either case the result is not a good type of sea-going vessel. So the owners of racing-machines have really no reason to complain that somebody should invent a racing-machine to beat them. This the inventor of the Amaryllis has done. It behooves the owners of the large schooners, however, to take counsel together lest somebody should build an Amaryllis a hundred feet long and convert their crafts into useless lumber. It is a matter quite as important as keeping the America's Cup, and may demand quite as ingenious and elaborate devices as were put in force against Mr. ASHBURY.
Source: Anon. (Editorial). "A Revolutionary Yacht." The World, June 24, 1876, p. 4.

From this web page.

Remarkably clear-sighted and prescient.
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